Brooks PureGrit returns with an 8th edition and to minor updates to the light and fast natural trail runner. The shoe features a stretch woven knit upper and hydrophobic Ariaprene tongue.
The upper is light and airy but is designed to drain and dry quickly. The heel of the shoe has been thinned and replaced with pockets of padding to keep debris out but aid in securing the Achilles tendon.
The midsole and outsole remain unchanged on this update, along with the 19mm/15mm stack heights.
I’ve been a fan of the Brooks PureGrit for many years – I’ve owned several editions of the shoe including the first.
I was excited to receive the Brooks PureGrit 8 to see how it has evolved and what was new. I was excited about the new casual appearance after unboxing it.
This is one of the best-looking shoes I’ve had in a while. However, after taking my first run in them excitement quickly changed to disappointment.
The shoe was familiar from saddle to outsole. I took them for a door to trail run initially and the shoe felt great on the pavement and had the same fast transition I was used to.
With the drop in weight it almost felt like a road shoe. I transitioned to a rolling trail consisting of hard pack clay and crushed gravel with gentle bends.
The shoe moved fast over the trail and felt effortless, however I noticed as my pace quickened and the curves tightened my heel began to slide a little inside the shoe.
I paused cranked down on the laces and started to climb a steep ½ mile section that drops into a technical rocky downhill. This was where the slipping was amplified.
If my foot wasn’t sliding side to side in the shoe my heel was trying slide out of the shoe like it was stuck in mud. Subsequent runs ended with the same results.
I mixed up the terrain, rocky, steep, caprock, etc., and even tried some hill repeats to give the shoe a fair shake, but the shoe is just too big and loose providing no support or stability.
I kept most of my outings to flat or rolling terrain which seem to really mesh well with the PureGrit 8.
I have to say that this update was not what I had hoped for and the worst that I have experienced since I have been running in the PureGrit.
The PureGrit has been and continues to be a lightweight trail shoe. That said it lacks the protection that you would find of a heavier trail shoe like the Cascadia or Caldera.
The PureGrit 8 continues to use its ballistic rock shield which is flexible and not obtrusive.
The plate seems to disperse the energy from most obstacles but does little to protect over rockier technical terrain, which would lead one to believe if it was even there at all.
Most of the shoe’s protection comes from the full length BioMoGo Midsole.
The PureGrit 8 also uses the nearly identical toe bumper and rubber wrap of the 7, that does a respectable job of protecting the toes from trauma.
The woven knit upper of the PureGrit 8 has a very casual appearance that might give the impression that it lacks durability.
However, This is not the case as the materials and strategically placed overlays in high abrasion areas have proven to be strong and durable.
After 60+ miles through steep, rocky sandstone, and wet terrain the shoes upper shows almost no signs of wear.
The medium lugged sticky rubber outsole, that carries over from the 7, has also proven durable showing only minor signs of wear that are consistent with mileage and terrain the shoe has covered.
Responsiveness & Speed
The Firm and responsive ride has been a constant with most versions of the PureGrit and the 8 is no different.
This allows the PureGrit to be a fast shoe and with the shedding of more than an ounce of weight on the PureGrit 8 makes it even faster.
This drop in weight also comes with a price which I will touch on later.
The shoe moves fast over hardpack and rolling less technical trails which seems to be what it is best suited for.
While it opens up awesome on downhills the 8 struggles to hold tight corners or bends which leads to some slowing, or in my case some falling.
The light weight package of the 8 gives it a road shoe feel which makes it easy to pull of quick easy miles on pavement when transitioning between it and the trail.
Comfort and Fit
This is the area where the PureGrit 8 takes a back slide. The shoe rolls nicely and has great proprioception but feels unfinished making it unstable.
This comes mainly from the thin heel cup that replaces the thicker skinned one used on the 7 and preceding models.
The thin collar helps to shed weight and along with the Ariaprene tongue effectively keeps out gravel and debris. However, those are about the only benefits.
The heel does not fit snuggly causing it to slip and feel like it could come out of the shoe. To add to the problem the extra eyelet that might typically be used to crank the heel down has been left out on the 8.
The PureGrit 8 is also long almost a ½ size for me and some runners reporting a full size too big. While I love a roomy toe box the 8 has just too much room.
This coupled with the excessive heel movement make the PureGrit 8 a liability on technical steep terrain.
While they might be able to handle some technical terrain, I honestly feel that it’s a gamble not worth taking.
The PureGrit has been a long-time favorite shoe and been in my lineup for many years. It is a fun and fast shoe that has always been versatile, and consistently improves with each version.
The PureGrit 8 I am sorry to say has failed to hit that mark. It’s oddly long toe box and the complete lack of support in the heel/collar limit it to a very specific type of terrain and a frustrating shoe to run in.
While still fun and fast, the fit issues make it a tough shoe to really like.
We purchased a pair of Brooks PureGrit 8 from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.